Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jamie Designs, Inc.

Hey, maybe we have a future Landscape Designer here. Think she'll take over the company and go international when she is older?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Well, I do believe the Fairy Blogmother has challenged me? Dared me? Double-dog dared me? to start hosting Thankful Thursdays here at The Mommy Project. I think she thinks this will encourage me to be a more consistent blogger, perhaps. Yes, I can see right through your mommy-nature Mrs. Blogmother. So, I take up your challenge! Now...let's just see if I can figure out how to work all the widgets and linky's and whatever the heck else I need to make this work {Hey! As a side note...apparently "Thankful Thursday" isn't my idea. When I went to set up my Mr. Linky code there was already one there for "Thankful Thursday". Hmmm. Hope that's okay. Jeez...whenever I have a lightbulb moment it seems that lightbulb has already gone off above someone else's head. Ah well...).

So, here is my list of 5 things I am Thankful for this Thursday:

1) My bed. I love my bed. You may remember it is fairly new. It was a surprise from my darling hubby, Davey. It is huge and squishy and, as Little Miss Muffet may have said, "Just Right". I've always enjoyed bedtime (perhaps more than I should) and now that I am preggers and I have a little kiddo, literally, kicking me in my lower left ribs several times a day and just, generally, tuckering me out, I'm loving my bed even more. I love to get into my bed, turn on my reading light, and start into one of the 20-30 books I have on my bedside table. Unfortunately (or, fortunately...) I never get passed a page or two because before you know it, it's 4 in the morning and I'm getting up to go pee. Good thing Davey turns off my reading light for me every night.

2) Books. I love books. I love, love, love, any sort of craft book. I've learned all about stained glass arts, jewelry making, bead making, candle making, wreath making, soap making (bars and liquid), scrapbooking (paper and digital), pillows, quilting, knitting, loom knitting, photography, kids crafts, crafts for pets, crafts for babies, jeez...just about everything you can think of, I've "studied it". One day I will put my love of all things crafty to use. One day. But, until then I will just say that I am thankful for all my great books and also for...

3) The Public Library System. I cannot even believe that I can just go on the internet, do a search for whatever book I want, and they will kindly send my books to the most convenient local library of my choice. All for free. How great is that? Now, sometimes they don't have the book I really, really, want and, rarely, there may be a bit of a line forming under the "requests" function but for a completely free service it is unbelievable. Often I will find I love the book so much I just have to have my own copy and then I turn to my on-line shopping cart at Chapters (to whom I am also grateful for their free and speedy shipping). But, for today, my shout-out of gratefulness is to the Library.

4) My fireplace. I am so lucky that I have a house with a fireplace. There is nothing better than snuggling up on the couch, with my legs up on Davey's lap, reading one of my many craft books, in front of the hot, crackling, fire. Dave wants to change it over to gas and I guess that will be okay, too, but I sure do love a real fire. It is so pretty and so nice and I am really thankful to have it.

5) Davey. I am very thankful for Davey. He is the best. He is such a great father and he is so involved with his girls. He does so much for them (too much, at times...I think), and a lot for me too. He is just always willing to "do stuff" for us. He used to always run to Tim Hortons every morning to get me a coffee...and he doesn't even drink coffee. He would go all that way just for me. He lets me put my huge, heavy, legs on top of him every night when we sit in front of our fire. He always helps me get my huge, heavy, butt off that couch at the end of the night -- he always, always, always, comes over with his hand out to help me up (actually, he does that even when I'm not pregnant). If there is ever something we really want...he'll get it for us. Even if it isn't always terribly practical or very cheap (my new mixer, my new food processor, my glass grinder...). He works very, very, hard for a living and I definitely appreciate that he works that hard for us, his family. His girls. He is a really pretty special, wonderful, guy and I am very, very, thankful for him. Love you, Davey. xo.

And that's my Thankful Thursday list of 5. What's yours??

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Homemade Multigrain Bread

For this week's What's Cooking Wednesday I am making homemade Multigrain Bread from my new baking book, "The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book". And, for your viewing pleasure, I have taken lots of pictures of all the steps. Actually, this wasn't to make it any easier for you to follow along with the recipe as much as it was to try to sneak in shots of my Brand New KitchenAid Artisan Mixer (insert Tim the Tool-Man Taylor gruffing ape noises here). Yes, I finally got my mixer and, yes, I do love her. I haven't gone as far to name her...but I do walk by and pet her on the "head" every once in awhile. She sure is pretty. But, anyway...

On with the recipe!


  1. 1 cup seven-grain hot cereal mix (Red Hill is recommended)
  2. 2 cups boiling water {For an accurate measurement of boiling water, bring a full kettle of water to a boil, then measure out the desired amount)
  3. 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for brushing
  4. 3 tablespoons honey
  5. 2 1/2-3 cups all-purpose flour
  6. 1 cup whole wheat flour
  7. 1 envelope instant or rapid-rise yeast
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  9. 1/2 cup unsalted pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  10. 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats or quick-cooking oats


  1. Stir the cereal mix and boiling water together in a medium bowl and let stand, stirring occasionally, until the mixture resembles a thick porridge and is just warm (about 110 degrees), about 30 minutes. Stir in the melted butter and honey.

  1. Combine 2 1/2 cups of the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, yeast, and salt in a standing mixer (like a lovely white Brand New Artisan, perhaps) fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the cereal mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes.

  2. Increase the mixer speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes, adding the seeds during the final minute of mixing. If after 4 minutes more flour is needed, add the remaining 1/2 cup flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the dough clears the sides of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

  4. Grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and gently press it into a 9-inch square. Roll the dough into a tight cylinder and pinch the seam closed. Place the loaf, seam side down, in the prepared pan. Mist the loaf with vegetable oil spray, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size and the dough barely springs back when poked with a knuckle, 45 to 75 minutes.

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the loaf lightly with melted butter, sprinkle with oats, then spray lightly with water. Bake until golden and the center of the bread registers 200 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 40 to 50 minutes, rotating the loaf halfway through baking. Cool the loaf in the pan for 15 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours, before serving.

This was the first loaf of bread I've made that actually worked! I was so excited. It was a bit of an all-day affair (with all the waiting around for it to rise, etc.), but it wasn't really very much work at all. And, the house smelled mah-velous! I did cook it with the oven rack on the lower-middle position -- and the bottom of the loaf came out a bit burned. So, next time I would raise the rack probably for about the last 15 minutes of cooking time. And, I didn't have a pastry brush so I just kind of mushed the butter on top of the bread with my fingers and, as you can see, the oats didn't stick on to the top very well. I don't know if the pastry brush would have helped them stick better(?). But, the bread did taste very good. I mean, it is multi-grain bread so don't go expecting melt-in-your-mouth, buttery, fluffy, homemade white bread kind of a thing...but if you like multi-grain (and we do) it is very good.

But, more importantly...
isn't my mixer pretty?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Jamie's Special Day!

As you probably already know, it was Jamie's birthday this past weekend. It was birthday number 4. The first one she was really excited about. She kept coming up with guest lists of all the people she was going to invite, but we've made it a bit of a tradition around here that birthday number 5 is the big, big, one. By the time kids are 5 their parents are usually ready to let them go off by themselves to a party. I don't think too many kids, or parents, are ready at the age of 4. Plus, when I turned 5 my parents let me invite my entire kindergarten class to my birthday and I always remembered that one. So, that kind of started the tradition.

Not to mention, Jamie wanted to have her birthday at "Build a Bear" this year. I think buying stuffed toys and outfits for a classroom full of kiddies may have ended up costing us the equivalent of one month's mortgage payment. So, "Build a Bear" it was...with Jamie and her big sister.

I think it took Jamie about 0.003 seconds to pick out her toy: the giraffe. She has had another stuffed giraffe (that she calls "Melman", of course) since she was just a little, little, baby. We got it for her on her first Christmas. It was actually from Maddie. We asked Maddie what kind of animal she thought Jamie would like and she said, without hesitation, "Giraffe". A bit of an unusual choice, we thought, but we found a giraffe at Toys R Us and, sure enough, Jamie has loved him ever since. This giraffe she decided to name, "Jamie". What a great name!

As expected it took Maddie, the perfectionist, much longer to decide. And, once she did...she changed her mind. Then she changed her mind again. Finally she settled upon the pink poodle.

They got their bears all stuffed up and had wishes put inside (I wonder what they wished for?) and, then, they picked out their outfits. Jamie picked out a purple princess-fairy outfit, and Maddie picked out a little soccer player outfit (I think she wants to start playing soccer next year, because her favourite boy plays...yeah, the one she has had a crush on since Junior Kindergarten).

After "Build a Bear" we headed off to Jamie's choice for the perfect "date": McDonalds. They had a little snack and then headed into the play area to have a blast for about an hour or so. They sure had fun in there. Pretty good deal, really, and it doesn't have any of those scary "germ ball bins" like they have at Ikea. Yuck.

Once we were done with the exercise portion of the day, we headed back home to finish making the birthday cake that Jamie picked out from one of my many cake decorating books. I thought for sure she'd pick a princess, or maybe even the rockin' guitar (she wants to learn how to play...maybe Christmas...) but, nope, she picked out the rabbit...just like her little "Bun Bun" who she likes so much.

I baked the cakes the night before to give them time to cool, then carved them out, pieced them together, and put on the crumb coat. When we got home Jamie picked out the frosting color and helped me to decorate her rabbit. Maddie helped, too. They put on the eyes and whiskers and toes and nose. I had forgotten to save some icing to color orange for the carrot, so I resorted to covering the blue carrot with orange sparkles. Would Martha Stewart have done that? I don't think so. But, that's alright, it tasted great.

Jamie opened up her presents and sure was excited to get




So cute.

Then her Aunt and Uncle popped in for a visit (with more gifts!) and we all shared the cake together.

It may not have been the big, big, birthday,
but it was still a great one.


Monday, November 10, 2008

And Baby Makes Three (girls!!)

OH it has been a busy, busy, few days! Of course, there was the ultrasound on Friday and then we had horse-back riding lessons on Saturday and lots of shopping/prep. to do for little Jamie James's birthday on Sunday, then there were the birthday festivities yesterday, and then I had to get my (stupid, frickin', aggravating, I-hate-that-couse-so-much-I-can't-tell-you) Landscape Construction homework handed in by midnight last night. Whew! It was bizz-eee. I was up until 2 in the morning on Friday night, and Saturday night, and I was up until 1 last night. I got my assignments handed in by midnight, but then I had a lot of internet window shopping (crafty stuff) to do {the Fairy Blogmother should really not be encouraging me in this area. I have enough craft stuff kicking around to choke a horse already}.

So, anyway, I must say that I ~still~ don't have any bloggy time! I have to work on my assignment for Landscape Design now, as well as my actual Landscape Design project...which is unfortunate because what I really want to do is snuggle up in front of the fire, re-lax, and read some craft books, maybe do some knitting, and also post a million pictures on my blog here.

But, for now, let me just quickly say that the 3-D Ultrasound appointment on Friday rocked. It was so completely cool, amazing, and wonderful. I got to lay back in a nice big reclining chair while Dave got comfy on the huge couch beside me and we both watched what was unfolding on the wide screen t.v. mounted on the wall in front of us. It was pretty surreal. You could see everything so well - count the toes, and the fingers, see the hair and, very clearly, see that we are having...


Yep, we make girls. I was wrong and the five of you who voted "girl" in my little poll were right. I can live with that. But, why...why little baby-girl one won't you let mommy enjoy her cup of coffee?? Maddie and Jamie both let me enjoy my one cup of Timmie's a day...but not you. That's okay. I'll forgive you because you are so completely adorable and cute already. You are in your 28th week and you are completely squished up inside of me. Your little legs are straight up in front of your head...all the time. Even when the Sonographer-man tried to wiggle your little legs away from your head, you weren't having any of it and there your toes stayed...right on top of the hair that is already on top of your little head. That made it hard for him to get nice, clear, shots of your face so he had to keep "slicing in" to the picture to cut out the area of your legs and try to just see your face (it was amazing to see what the equipment could do). And boy, or GIRL, can you kick! Kick! Kick! Kick! Kick! Kick!

You do it all the time. The man doing the 3-D was laughing at how much you were kicking me. He was amazed. And, as we found out, my placenta is at the back so there is really no cushion between me and your feeties. I can see it, I can feel it, and you wake me up every night with it. But, again, that's cool.

'Cuz you're my little girl and I love you already.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thankful Thursday.

Everyday I get e-newsletters in my "mailbox". I don't even know how I managed to sign myself up for all these little notices, but some of them are pretty good. I always like getting the FamilyFun ones, the Beading ones (even though I haven't done any beading in ages - it's still fun to dream), and the pregnancy (i.e. "This week in your pregnancy...") ones. Dave pretty much just likes it when something new from Victoria's Secret rolls in. Although, he is a bit devastated right now as his favourite girl seems to have gone missing. Maybe she got too old. She probably turned 23, or something. Poor thing. Anyway, today I got something from Wondertime which is a fairly new magazine about parenting with thoughts on child development, recipe ideas, activities, that sort of thing. It said:

According to research in Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, regularly writing down what you're grateful for can increase your level of happiness by about 25 percent. (So can a chocolate martini, but we couldn't find that in the self-help aisle.)

Okay, i'm game. And since I can't have the chocolate martini (but, man, that does sound good) I'll go ahead and post 5 things I'm grateful for. I'd say this could be "Thankful Thursday" or something like that...but I tend not to ever stick to any of those sort of bloggy schedules (as much as I'd really like to). My pal Shan over at the Fairy Blogmother is the disciplined one, not me. Anyway...

Five Things I'm grateful for This Week:

1) I'm done work. Thank you baby Jesus.

2) I was kept up for an hour and a half last night by this kid inside of me kicking up a frickin' storm. How wonderful is that?

3) I just love my little family - they are all really pretty special people and I'm so lucky to have them.

4) My new truck. So nice. And so much less embarrassing to drive than my wagon was.

5) My friends. My oldest friend in the world who I hardly ever get to see, but who I know I could call up anytime and she would be there if I needed her. I've known her since I was not much older than Maddie. Incredible!

My distant friends who I hardly ever get to see, but who I still hold dear in my heart (one of them has a blog of her own, so that helps me to keep in touch with her life and keeps her in touch with mine. She is a really amazing person and and she has been so much support to me over these past few weeks, she'll never even know). The other one is a serious procrastinator and is beginning to tick me off, but I love her anyway.

My bloggy friend, and neighbour, who is much cooler than she even realizes (doncha' just love women like that?) and is one of the best moms I've ever known. She and I are destined for a rockin' night of debauchery one of these days...I can just feel it.

And, my "work" friends...some of which I don't actually even work with anymore, others left my work and then convinced me to come follow them. They're all the ones that you had so much fun with, you just can't put them behind you. You know?

Oh, and a special mention here to my "multi-tasking" friend...my former co-worker, my current co-worker, my match-maker, and my SIL. She's is such a wonderful person that you end up liking her despite the fact she used to model (and still could, except she is too busy being a total brainiac on top of it all).

Thanks to all of you for being who you are.

And...that will close out this week's (lol) Thankful Thursday.
If you wanna play along...let me know. I'd love to see your list.

Wanna see some pics of some of those friend's cute babies?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dreaming of You.

Two posts today. That's for a couple of reasons.

  1. I have a TON of homework to do. It is really way too much for me to possibly get done and so I am feeling completely overwhelmed by it and I'm hiding out on the computer.
  2. I have my 3-D ultrasound in 2 DAYS!! I'm pretty excited about this and I'm so looking forward to finding out whether we will be adding a third little girl to the group, or switching things up and tossing a boy in there.

So, let me just share with you this dream I had last night {dontcha just hate it when people tell you their dreams. It is soooo boring. Anyway...as I was saying...ha ha ha}...

I was at the ultrasound appointment and the woman doing the ultrasound announced, "Well, it looks like you are having triplets!".

me: Triplets?!?!

tech: Yes. There are three in there! Two of them are girls, but it's hard to see what the third one is. Oh, wait! Yes, there, I can see now. It's...a...boy! He is much smaller than the other two, though, so I'm a bit worried about him. We'll have to keep a close eye on him. He is doing fine and he is actually fully grown, but he is just still much smaller than the other two. Don't worry, though, everything is going to be alright.

Then she turned the volume on so we could hear all their heartbeats and I could hear the one girl say to the other girl, "Hey, Maddie, wanna play something?"

Then I woke up.

I thought to myself, "Triplets?! Well, that was a dumb dream because I'm obviously not having triplets". It took me a second to remember the part about the "Jamie-girl" speaking to the "Maddie-girl".

So...could it be that the two girls were simply Jamie and Maddie and this third one will be a boy?

Is the dream prophetic or just, well, a dream?

We will see.

Honestly, I think we are probably having a third girl just because the woman at the second ultrasound couldn't "see any boy parts". I think she probably knew it was a girl, but she just didn't tell us. She probably thought we would be devastated because we already have two girls, or something. But, that is not the case at all. Dave said he is actually, kind of, in a way, hoping it is another girl. Probably just because the two we have worship him so much! Plus, we know what we are doing with a girl. And girls are so cute and have all the best clothes...

But, still, I was so sure it was a boy for so long...I think there is a part of me that still thinks so. Well, apparently there is, because now I've started to dream about "him"!

2 more days.

2 more days!!

Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes!

Shan did something sweet for this week's What's Cooking Wednesday...so, so will I.

Here are the treats I made for my little ladies lunch I had last week: Pumpkin Cupcakes!
These, of course, are from the best ever cupcake book, "Hello, Cupcake!". I have many, many, cupcake books and this is by far the best. It shows you how to make some really cute treats and everything is completely do-able (unlike some other books that are pretty to look at, but much less realistic). In fact, this book makes use of regular ol' cake mixes and plain ol' store-bought frostings which they jazz up to make something special.

Here are your ingredients for the Pumpkin Cupcakes:
12 standard Pumpkin Spice cupcakes (recipe to follow)
24 mini Pumpkin Spice cupcakes
4 green licorice twists
1 can plus 1 cup vanilla frosting
Orange food coloring
1 cup orange decorating sugar
Green licorice laces.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes:

1 box French vanilla or yellow cake mix
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs

(Bake as directed on box).
{Photo of Finished Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes from the book}

Once you've baked your cupcakes {Note: I made 24 Standard Pumpkins and skipped the little guys}:

  1. Cut the licorice twists into pieces for the pumpkin stems. Tint the vanilla frosting orange with the food coloring. Tint 1/2 cup of the orange frosting a darker shade of orange with more food coloring, and spoon into a ziplock bag. Press out the excess air, seal the bag, set aside.

  2. Place the orange decorating sugar in a shallow bowl. Spread the lighter orange frosting on top of the cupcakes, mounding it slightly. Starting on the edge, roll the cupcake tops in the sugar to cover completely.

  3. Use a wooden skewer to mark ridges in the top of each cupcakes. Starting in the center or slightly off center, lightly press the skewer down toward the top of the paper liner to create 5 or 6 indentations. Snip a 1/16-inch corner from the bag with the darker orange frosting and pipe a line in each indentation to make the ribs. Insert a cut green twist for the stem. Arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter or a cutting board and add the green licorice laces, trimmed to various lengths for tendrils.

As you can see, I could not find any green licorice so I got black instead. I also could not find any licorice laces in any color. I even went to Fortinos hoping I would be able to get all my ingredients in one stop. No such luck. They didn't even have any orange decorating sugar so I had to pick that up at Michael's instead. Ah well...they still came out looking mighty cute, I think. One of my guests even said, "Oh! I totally didn't think those were real! I thought they were made out of ceramic or something and they were just for decoration".


Surprisingly, I didn't think the cupcakes really tasted very pumpkin-y really so next year, if I were to make them again, I may add a bit more of the pumpkin pie spice. But, the grown-ups and the kids both loved them and thought they were great. Super easy and lots of fun to make, too!

Still got the pumpkin bug? Well, be sure to head over to the Fairy Blogmother's site for more of What's Cooking Wednesday...she even has a nice pumpkin cake recipe up today!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Belated Halloween!! :)

Oh dear! It's been ages since I've written anything again. So much has been going on. For one thing...I'm done work. Thank gawd. With the first two girls I worked into my eigth month, but this has been a different pregnancy altogether. Between my constant back problems and finding out about my increased risk of pre-term labour the doctor and I agreed it was time to hang up my scrubs. Actually...I may still wear them since they are one of the few things that still fit. Anyway. It has been heaven. I'm in a place now (my house! ha ha ha) where if I get tired...I can just sit down. And, if I start getting cramps...I can even lay down. If my back gets sore...I can stop what I am doing. It's been really, really, great. And while certain people at work were put-out by my leaving the majority of them were really, really, super great and supportive. So, that has been wonderful, too. I'm 27 weeks this Friday (actually, I already had this weekend booked off for "holidays" and I have another coming up...both for the girls' birthdays) and I *hopefully* have 11 more weeks to go. I think that 11 weeks is best spent taking care of myself and my baby and I'm really glad and fortunate to have the opportunity to do that.

I had a little get-together with some of my best work gf's last Thursday to kind of cheer myself up about everything that has been going on and that was really nice. I figured, I may not be able to "entertain" too much in the coming months and I was lucky to be able to get them all together on such short notice (we've tried several times...for months...to all get together but there are always 2 or 3 or 4 of us who can't make it on any given day!!). So, I'll have to post some pics. for you later from those festivities. I'll tell you this much...there were a lot of babies and not a boy in the house.
But, for now, before it gets tooooo untimely...I'll just share some pics. from Hallowe'en '08!

(Davey's creation)
(My pumpkin. I just loved this pumpkin. Isn't it cute...in a creepy sort of way? Those are black roses for hair).

(Jamie with her kitty pumpkin and another one of Daddy's. That spider looked really cool lit up at night. I can't believe I forgot to get a proper pic. of it).
I started off the day by going to my girls' school to watch them in their parade. I could have sworn the note I got home said they were going to be walking around the school and that parents were welcome to come watch. But, when I got there nothing was going on. There didn't seem to be any parents hanging around and there were no signs of any kids in costumes. I waited in the truck for a (long, long) long time...I even watched them all go out for recess and then go back in again. Finally, I thought I'd better go in and ask what was happening but the lady in the office didn't know either. I did run into a couple of other parents there and we all just kind of chit chatted in the halls until finally the kids started to make their way around the halls.

They weren't parading outside of the school, which was kind of too bad because it was such a beautiful day and I'm sure they would have loved it. But, still, they seemed to have fun and I managed to get a couple of shots of the kiddos.

When it came time for Trick or Treating we met up with The Fairy Blogmother and her gang and while it wasn't quite dark, yet, when we left it sure was by the time we finished. It wasn't a long walk, really, but it was enough to tucker me and the little Pink Poodle out. I think the beautiful princess riding a unicorn could have gone all night, though. She wanted to head out further to go trick or treating at some of her other (more distant) friends houses. But, I think they have more than enough candy to last them until next year.

Hey! And, we'll have another little goblin by then! I wonder if it will be a witch or a wizard??

Friday we find out for sure. That's when we are going for the 3-D ultrasound!!!

(another one of mommy's pumpkins. Yes, I was big on using flowers for hair this year. These ones are real).
Happy Halloween!